Sheffield MP backs move to overturn plans which could see 7,000 city children miss out on free school meals

Sheffield Central MP Paul Blomfield
Sheffield Central MP Paul Blomfield
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A Sheffield MP has backed a move to overturn Government plans that could mean more than 7,000 city children miss out on free school meals.

Sheffield Central MP, Paul Blomfield, has added his name to a motion which aims to force a debate and vote on the proposals.

Thousands of Sheffield schoolchildren could miss out on free school meals

Thousands of Sheffield schoolchildren could miss out on free school meals

All children belonging to families on Universal Credit - a new a social security benefit which replaces six means-tested benefits and tax credits - are currently eligible to receive free school meals.

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But if the government proposals go ahead, only children from families earning less than £7,400 before benefits are taken into account will still be entitled.

Families on Universal Credit earning more than £7,400 a year will be required to pay £400 a year for their child to receive school meals.

Mr Blomfield said: "For many children from low-income families across Sheffield, a free school meal may be the only hot food they eat all day.

"Children cannot focus to learn if they are hungry but the Government wants to strip thousands of children of their entitlement to free school meals.

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“These changes would see children from families on Universal Credit who are earning just £7,400 a year losing out on their free school meal.

"This directly targets low-income families who are working hard to provide for their children and undermines the principle of making work pay.”

“A Labour Government would ensure all primary school children are entitled to a hot, nutritious meal and that no child would have to face a day of school on an empty stomach.”

According to figures from The Children’s Society, of the 16,400 school children in poverty in Sheffield, 7,400 would miss out on free school meals under the plans.

The government claims the plans will lead to 50,000 more children across the UK gaining free lunches.

A Department for Education consultation on the changes ended in January.

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